Category Archives: Concepts

Ideas & Concepts,

AAR’s for Scenario Based Training: How to and Why

AAR. What is it? After Action Review is the short answer. Why do we do them? Because we have to. Because we’re supposed to. First Sergeant said to. Because I like to hear myself talk. The correct answer should be to give the students (soldiers, cops, whoever) feedback on their performance, to facilitate learning and to make them better. As a young infantryman I hated AARs, I felt like they were just a waste of my time. I would rather be training, or eating, or sleeping, or playing grab ass. These, many moons later, I feel quite differently about it. I honestly think that AARs are only slightly less important than the actual training itself, but only if done correctly. Over the years it has become clear to me that most people simply don’t know how to conduct an AAR. I don’t recall ever being given specific training on how to conduct one. And if you ask me to sit through one like I used to have to endure, I’ll still think it’s a waste of time. An AAR gives the students time to reflect on what happened, what they did, what they did well, and what they could have

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Battlesight Zero

Those who carry guns for a living know the world isn’t a nicely manicured flat range and threats will present at differing distances. You won’t have an opportunity to dial in your DOPE to take the shot when you need to. To counter this, anyone not using an optic equipped with a bullet drop compensator uses a battlesight zero or BZO. Before we really get into the BZO let’s look at what the Army and Marine Corps have to say in doctrine. “The term battlesight zero means the combination of sight settings and trajectory that greatly reduces or eliminates the need for precise range estimation, further eliminating sight adjustment, holdover or hold-under for the most likely engagements. The battlesight zero is the default sight setting for a weapon, ammunition, and aiming device combination. An appropriate battlesight zero allows the firer to accurately engage targets out to a set distance without an adjusted aiming point. For aiming devices that are not designed to be adjusted in combat, or do not have a bullet drop compensator, such as the M68, the selection of the appropriate battlesight zero distance is critical.” - US Army Training Circular 3-22.9, May 2016. “…In combat, the Service

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Sucked Down the Tube: A Failure in Training

Much, if not all training and practice is conducted on flat ranges under calm conditions with no surprises. We shoot steel and paper that we purposely place and identify. We have lanes and all sorts of safety considerations that make a day at the range a pleasant experience.  This is fine for most of us but can lead to some critical failures if you are in a line of work that may not look the same as the flat range.  For those that form either the thin Blue or Green Lines targets will probably appear in from unknown positions and ranges. Many people preach situational awareness but fail to account for it in our training. COL Boyd gave us the OODA loop, which on the surface, is a rapidly trainable flow of Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. It is a loop because as soon as you act you start over. Observe. To hit a target, you must first observe it. You could possibly be an intergalactic grand sensei with Generation Next hardware and you will still miss a target you didn’t see. With the proliferation of magnified optics, the tendency of getting sucked down the tube is becoming more prolific

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Holster Positioning – An Unpopular View

Holster positioning and corresponding equipment seem to be a topic that comes up often. Though this may appear to be common sense to some, not everyone is at the same level of experience. So let's break this down in simple terms. Positioning, attire, belt, and holster all work together as an effective system or an ineffective hindrance. Without a quality belt and quality holster, the position of your holster on your belt may not be as optimal as you would hope. If you don't dress to carry, you might be doing yourself a disservice. Obviously we aren't all built the same. Body types differ - this is all coming from a 6'5" 250 lb person. Starting from 6 o'clock (small of back) and moving the weapon to 12 o'clock (appendix), as you move forward from 6 to 12 you gain positive benefits. Small of back does not provide awareness of the weapon (you don't know if it is concealed), it prints horribly if you bend, it is slow to access, and it is difficult to defend. Even worse, it can cause serious injury if the wearer falls on their back. Strongside provides better awareness of the weapon, it allows less printing

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Inches, Minutes, Clicks- Zero That Blaster

Zeroing is literally one of the most important thing we need to accomplish with our rifles and #spacegun pistols. There is much talk around the technique to accomplish this but there is one way that is easy and fast. First, determine the desired zero distance.  This will vary by rifle, optic, caliber, and most importantly purpose of the firearm. Many people with AR15 rifles use either a 100, 200, or 300 yard/meter zero. Rather, many people claim to use those ranges but most use the near zero distance on either 25 or 50-yard target. Yes, I am talking in yards here because most people on this page are not using meters. Now, to save yourself time, you can use a borelight or something like the Telluric Group Small Arms Collimator. There are lasers available in every price range and should be part of your tool kit. Doing this step will put you at the very least on paper at 25/50 which will save you rounds and frustration. Ask me how I know. Regardless of borelight or not, it’s time to shoot bullets. Get into the most comfortable and stable position possible. One that you can duplicate easily. For you Army

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A Reminder for Myself and Other Instructors

A lot of times, we take our own repetitions for granted.  As we're teaching, it's easy to become frustrated with students that "just aren't getting it."  And since I'm a nobody, instructor-wise, I get a lot of students that are prone to "just not getting it."  A lot of the top level national guys get students who've trained at a high level before.  And so it's easy to have a line full of switched-on guys that have already built tens of thousands of reps.  We come to those national guys, most of the time, with years if not decades of firearms experience. As a student on their lines, I love that.  We aren't held up by a number of students who are just really slow to pick up some basic concept that we started workin on 20 years ago.  And as a student, it's really easy to get frustrated with "that person" in the class.  You know the one.  The Private Pyles of the class.  We've all seen it.  We've all been frustrated by it. But today, I've had a stark lesson in why we should never let that frustration show, and really, should soften our thinking on it. I

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Running the Irons.

Iron sights have been part of shooting since the very least April 19th 1775. Aiming was a major part of our tactics that helped defeat the British unaimed volley fire. This being said, it should come as no surprise that we have learned, used, and lost uses for iron sights in all environments from jungles, deserts and even the frozen landscapes of Siberia. I am going to talk about a few of those techniques here. First anyone ever wonder why there are 2 apertures on the M16/AR15 platform? Most people have looked and wondered but never cared. Some wondered then tried switching between the two and found no gain from it. There is a reason for it but first we need to talk about sight alignment. Photo courtesy of FMJ Armory, LaGrange, GA TC 3-22.9 states “sight alignment is the relationship between the aiming device and the firer’s eye. To achieve proper and effective aim, the focus of the firer’s eye needs to be on the front sight post or reticle. The Soldier must maintain sight alignment throughout the aiming process.” It goes on to say for iron sights it is the “the relationship between the

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Malfunctions

We are continuing our discussion on Control. Specifically, we will be addressing how to handle malfunctions, which is a particular part of the shot process that was not addressed under the fundamentals. Our Reference for this discussion is TC 3-22.9 Change 1, dated January 2017. A malfunction is anything that occurs to interrupt the cycle of function of the weapon. The TC describes it as: “The Soldier controls which actions must be taken to ensure the [threat] is defeated as quickly as possible based on secondary weapon availability and capability, and the level of threat presented by the range of the [threat] and its capability.” This means that the Paratrooper needs to determine how to most effectively neutralize the threat based on their assessment. They do this in one of three ways: Their secondary weapon to can eliminate the threat, their secondary weapon cannot eliminate the threat, or they have no secondary weapon to transition too. We will discuss each of these separately. If the Paratrooper has a secondary weapon, and they believe they can neutralize the threat with it, they will transition to that weapon. Secondary weapons are usually a pistol for an M240 Gunner or the M4 Carbine

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Understanding the AR-15 Gas System

The AR-15 Direct Gas Impingement System is a rather straight forward system to understand. When the weapon is fired, gas travels down the barrel behind the bullet. As it passes the gas port, it is diverted into the Front Sight Base (FSB) or Gas Block into a gas tube which carries it into the bolt carrier key. Once the gas arrives at the key, it dumps the gas into a chamber causing the bolt carrier to move rearward.                                              (Elements of the gas system) Gassing starts in the chamber with the round of ammunition. This means that ammunition selection is important. Ammunition may be loaded to either .223 specs or 5.56 NATO specs. Ammunition produced with poor quality control can affect the operation of the weapon. From here we move to the gas port. The gas port is very important to the overall function of the rifle. In the military world this is virtually a non-issue since gas ports are standardized. In the commercial/civilian world a manufacturer can gas their barrel anyway they want. One of the first things

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Follow Through With the M4 and M4A1

We are continuing our discussion on control. Specifically we will be addressing Follow-through for the M4 and M4A1 platforms. The Reference for this discussion is TC 3-22.9 Change 1 dated January 2017. The M4 series weapon has a variable trigger weight due to the burst trigger control group. The weight can vary as much as three to eight pounds depending upon where the sear is at in the burst cycle. So how do we compensate for that variable trigger pull? The answer is follow-through. Follow-through is the continued application of the shot process until after the shot has been fired. This means that the Paratrooper keeps applying the elements of the shot process until the weapon ceases movement from the recoil pulse. A practical application of follow-through is keeping the head in the same position, firing eye (or both eyes open, in the case of the CCO and RCO), and holds the trigger back until the recoil pulse ceases, then lets off enough to allow the trigger to reset. Body position remains the same, and breathing is either steady or held, depending upon the conditions of the particular shot. There are nine components to follow-through, they are Recoil Management, Recoil

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